Jeffrey Court Blog

Sure, painting a wall is easy and can be done in a day usually, so it’s one of those weekend warrior recommendations every designer mentions for a quick fix. How about other ideas to bring color to a space? There are lots of simple ways to add color even from your own yard – so let’s start there.

1) Bring the outside in

It doesn’t have to be floral you know! Prune that dwarf maple or arborvitae and bring those branches inside for a large focal point on your mantle or coffee table. Even Ewe branches make for great garlands or wreaths around the holiday time. Plain birch branches add an architectural element and dogwood adds a deep woodsy red to any color palette.

Don’t forget shrubbery and vines past their prime. Hops and hydrangea are great pops of parchment tones mixed with holiday décor. Of course if you have a blooming garden, then all those beautiful blossoms are great colors to add into your décor.

Special hint: When pruning trees make sure to check which season is best for cutting bark. This will help your trees and shrubs grow better the following spring.

Art Direction Barbara Schmidt /
Photographer John Christenson

2) Standardized Stretchers

Many art stores or craft stores have standard sized stretchers for canvas or fabric. Buy two or three for your focal point wall and a staple gun. Any fabric store will have sale and/or a remnant fabric table. Look there first to find a fabric with a pattern or color that will give a refresh to your décor.

Don’t overlook white and black color as possibilities to add tone and perhaps even a calming point in a busy room. To help visualize color, print out a few options of tones or hang some of your fabric with painters tape first to see if you like it.

Special hint: A lot of great design comes with trial and living with it a while to see if you will like it.

3) Pillows Everywhere

Sure anyone can add throw pillows on a sofa, but can you build a collection of mismatched sizes, colors and patterns? Everything symmetrical can feel dull too so consider mixing it up a bit to add interest.

Don’t forget to consider floor pillows in front of the TV and around the family room. Kids bedrooms are another great space for big floor pillows. Rattan pillows or outdoor fabrics will add a cozy element on the patio or lanai.

Special hint: A lot of pillows are standard sizes and many of the bigger interior stores sell covers separately from the pillow insert. You may be able to just recover your existing pillow inserts.

Art Director Barbara Schmidt /
Photographer Tim Nehotte

4) Touches of Tile

Consider adding a backsplash to your sink areas, countertops or around a tub to add not only a punch of color but also protect your walls from moisture damage. A small section of tile above a sink or tub can add color and that special design touch for added resale value.

Don’t forget to look for matching finishing tile pieces such as a bullnose or pencil rail to trim out the edges for that finished look. There are many color choices with matching trim pieces on These options will help you finish your tile areas to look professionally installed.

Hint: Choose your tile first and then blend that color tone in with the rest of the décor. Pillows, towels and artwork can build on your theme.

Designer Barbara Schmidt /
Photographer Tim Nehotte Tile: Belle Mare Glass – Chapter 1

5) Functional DecorNot only should your décor be beautiful, it should be functional as well. For instance, a tray for the ottoman should be large enough to set a glass or a tablet on while seated. Another example is a lidded box for shelf decor. These are great places to store clutter such as open mail, home office supplies, make-up or remotes.

Special hint: Look in the office supply aisles at big box stores for cute colorful and patterned boxes. If you don’t see any that you like, wrap over a box with specialty paper found at art or paper stores.

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